Verbinski says efforts are being made to reduce BIOSHOCK budget

Prince of Persia from May, which even though it is officially the second highest grossing domestic video game movie of all time - it's $88 million total was a disaster when you compare it to the $200 million it took to make. Despite Disney making it's money back from overseas outlets, the $200 million was bloated when you consider Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is the only movie with video game origins to have grossed over $100 million to date. The Resident Evil movies have somehow made it to four but none of them can top $51 million, audiences could only really tolerate one Lara Croft film (the sequel flopped) and sure-hit big names franchises like Street Fighter, Hitman and Max Payne just haven't cut it. So you weigh up all that, and it's no wonder that the epic world creation movie Bioshock is having trouble finding funding at Universal. Previously, when the movie was gearing up for Gore Verbinskito direct in 2008 the movie was budgeted at around $160 million, a frightening total all things considered. A bloated budget that Universal eventually deemed way to high for an R-Rated video game adaptation, and the project was delayed so it could be majorly downsized. Verbinski left and 28 Weeks Later helmer Juan-Carlos Fresnadillo replaced him last August, probably impressed by his ability to make $18 million look like $80 million on screen. We haven't heard a peep on the project since, but Verbinski did stay on as producer, and he updated the progress on the film last week to IGN;

"We're working trying to make it. The problem with "Bioshock" was: R-rated movie, underwater, horror. It's a really expensive R-rated movie. So we're trying to figure out a way working with Juan Carlos to get the budget down and still keep it so it's true to the core audience, you know? The thing is it has to be R, a hard R. I think Bioshock's a rare one because it's actually a great story. Me? I don't want to make movies based on videogames, but Bioshock's the one Oedipal, crazy kind of -- it's just got really good bones, and we're really trying to figure out a way to make it work."
It's encouraging that Verbinski and his team are still working on the movie but you struggle to see how Bioshock could possibly be made in this climate. Even if they somehow managed to reduce costs to $80 million (50% of the previous budget) that is still likely to be another 50% too high for this, Universal might only be willing to front up $40-5o million for this R-Rated project. Especially considering the studio have had a pretty tough year; The Wolfman - $61 million domestic from a $150 million budget and years of strife in getting it released. Green Zone - $35 million domestic from $100 million budget. Repo Men - $13 million domestic from $32 million budget. Robin Hood - $104 million domestic from $200 million budget. and MacGruber failed to make back it's meager $10 million budget. In fact the only movie that actually didn't lose money for Universal domestically is Get Him To The Greek. So you look at Bioshock, and you just don't see how a studio with Universal's current mind-set will fund this expensive risk. Sad - because it could be a great movie. But then so could Metal Gear Solid, Halo, Splinter Cell, Gears of War... and you could go on and on and on! via - The Playlist, First Showing


Matt Holmes is the co-founder of What Culture, formerly known as Obsessed With Film. He has been blogging about pop culture and entertainment since 2006 and has written over 10,000 articles.